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Husband wants a divorce - won't say why(73 Posts)
I'll try keep this short but the upshot is I'm 47 and my husband is 43. We've been married 11 years, no children. About five weeks ago, we had an argument and I could tell he was different from usual. Usually we argue, fix it quickly, cuddle and it's all ok. So I tried to talk to him and he said I've been treating him like shit the last year. I just never realised. I've had a back problem, I've definitely had depression the last few years likely peaking with the death of my mother six years ago (confirmed by a therapist) but generally I didn't see that I was behaving any differently than usual.
But he's my husband, I love him, I understand marriage is work so I listened, took onboard what he said and I guess my behaviour changed pretty quickly. We have a housekeeper (my husband earns good money) but I started to do things like the washing up or whatever. Sharing in the cooking (he's always insisted on cooking before because he enjoys it but he raised it as one of the things that was annoying him). Little things. And they made me feel really good for some reason that I now put down to that I didn't realise even though I had it all - nice house, cleaner, dog walker, first class flights, whatever - that I was really bored and it was making me unhappy and miserable.
I've spent a lot of time on the internet the past few years. I see now that this was neglecting him and it wasn't making me happy anyway. Just bored I guess and I suppose I like to have opinions to share with people. It's all irrelevant really. The upshot is one of the changes I made was to go to a therapist and that's been helpful because it's helped me identify that I've likely brought patterns into the marriage from my childhood. I had a rough childhood and a pretty abusive mother (who was also inconsistent with her affection). That probably resulted in a personality disorder (likely Borderline) but I display little of the usual symptoms associated with it. The most manifest is that I can be pretty nasty in arguments, tend to be introspective and feel little connection to what I feel or value and otherwise occasionally confrontational. The biggest impact it probably has it that it just leaves me feeling depressed and lifeless. I'm seeing a psychiatrist soon to get this diagnosed for sure. The good news is that because I'm older and pretty together otherwise, I've likely managed to self-moderate my behaviour with age. I'm not physically violent and he's always laughed off any confrontations I've had with others (very rare now - maybe one in the last year). I'm not awful - I just lose my temper and will quickly get verbally abusive but there's always a reason and I always calm down. I hate it though and always have and I guess one blessing here is that I finally realise this so I can deal with it. I asked him throughout the marriage if he thought I should see someone and he'd always say it was my decision. I suppose I thought that was good enough and I wouldn't go but I really regret this now because maybe I could have worked on myself sooner and saved this. Even if this is a factor - I don't know.
Anyway, again this is all to give background. He just turned round after a few weeks of everything seeming to be ok and blurted out he wanted a divorce. He won't tell me the specifics and it's driving me crazy. He said he's not been happy for the past year. Understandable. He'd mentioned this a few weeks ago - I listened and took on what he had said and tried my hardest. Then it changed to it was he knew a year ago he didn't love me and then it changed again to it was happening before then. Possibly years. It just "crept up" on him. If I press him any further, he gets defensive and almost like a child. The most I can get out of him is that he doesn't love me. Whatever I say, he replies "I don't love you". It's almost like an attack to try and hurt me. And it really does. The other thing was he "hasn't lived much of a life", that he "doesn't see a future" with me.
So ok, I suppose this happens. People stop loving you. It's so hard to understand. It's just come out the blue too and I asked him why he was cuddling me, talking about the future (we're going to get a car so the weekends are more exciting) right up to the night before he told me, and all he could reply was "I still feel affection for you", and - the worst - "I look back on our marriage fondly". I can't stand it when he says that. We rent where we are at the moment and the lease runs out in March. I said I don't want to make any decisions and just want to process everything. He also says he'd consulted a relationship counsellor but I'm starting to wonder now if he actually has. He didn't seem to like me going to a therapist but then who does. I just can't wrap my head round a relationship counsellor not getting him to try and work with me to save the marriage. I asked him this and he said that he was that determined he didn't love me anymore that she apparently just wanted to help him with his "grief" and "guilt".
I don't understand how you can have grief and guilt about not loving someone any more but then deciding that you're going to divorce them anyway. We also had a substantial sum of money last year that could have at least given me a deposit on a flat or something but that's pretty much gone now because of moving round houses, removal costs, and he started a business as well. That doesn't seem to be going well although he's got one deal on it that will pay off quite big in a few years. I asked him if that would be part of a settlement. I'd just got this news so I guess I blurted it out and he was really nasty. He said he'd just get rid of the company and change the name or something. I don't understand his behaviour. It really isn't like him to be this unkind or shit. It's almost like he hates me. When I've tried to talk to him, I honestly and truly feel like he's saying "I hate you" when he says "I don't love you".
I'm tearing myself up inside. One of the problems with the condition (possible) that I have is that I internalise pain so I will think things like "he never loved me", "I don't really love him", "we were always a mistake". Things like that. I've learned breathing techniques to deal with these though and I've been borderline suicidal at points the past few weeks. That's again another thing. I'm not able to have perspective and I have huge abandonment issues that can cloud my judgement too. Anyway, I'm coping pretty well under the circumstances. I know I've made mistakes. I'm terrified about the future. I have a feeling that he's going to be nasty about a settlement. He's very intelligent and high powered and the way he's spoken to me so far makes me think he just wants me gone and really won't care what happens to me. If I say anything he either says "o here we go with the victim complex again" or "I'll always set you right, don't worry". But how can I trust him now not to shaft me in the future? I'm 47. I could probably work but I'm unlikely to have my own house now or pension or anything. The other weird thing is that once he told me, he acts like I'm supposed to be happy and fine about it. It's totally irrational. I just don't want to talk to him or be anywhere near him because I think he owes me a chance. I really do think that's fair. For better or worse, etc. But he won't even entertain the idea. He's screamed at me that I'm trying to find a "chink in his armour" or sarcasticaly says "oh why? so you can fix it?". I just want to stay away from him. I can't act all friendly with him. He doesn't get it and I can't - it's making me feel sick and anxious if he even talks to me. So patronising and condescending or with this sense of "care" that I know he doesn't mean. Like I'm a patient or his employee or something.
I just can't believe this is my husband. He's always been totally doting and loving and in a way that's been bad for me. I should have worked, I should have had my own career, my own friends. Less dependent on him. We also let our sex life go big time and it's been about four years now. I feel terrible about this but I'd always ask him what to do and he'd say he was fine if we never had sex again. Crazy. I should have pushed but then he's always been kind of non-interested. He has a few performance issues but then I probably do too and just thought maybe one day down the line we'd fix it. What a mistake. But anyway. I see al this now. I can change all these things. I want to and I can and I know that even if he doesn't love me now, he did once. I believe in marriage. The standard it sets. You work through things. I don't know. Anyway, the other thing I realised is that I'm internalising and missed something important possibly. His dad has bouts of major episode depression (kicked off in his 40s iirc) and his aunt has bipolar disorder and part of me is wondering while I'm sitting tearing myself apart if something is happening with him. I noticed it the other night when I was talking to him. He just won't entertain even the slightest discussion and it makes me think that he isn't thinking it through or somehow he thinks I'm the problem and maybe not that he's stressed. He says the "guilt" about not loving me has made him not sleep well and lose a lot of weight (two pants sizes). But these are also indications of depression in my limited knowledge of it. Also, I know you can suddenly start to feel hopeless about the future and start to disconnect from relationships and that you can even develop feeling that you don't have any feelings etc. with it too. The type of depression his dad has is severe and at the chronic end of the spectrum and part of me is really scared something is going on. I asked him to talk to a doctor or therapist just to be sure. Relationship cousellors may not be qualified to pick up underlying issues. Anyway he just sneered when I mentioned it and said "I'll take it under advisement". God, it's so awful seeing him so nasty to me.
I'm not sure. Perhaps I'm still in denial. I just want to cover every angle and possibility and I suppose I wrote all this out and hope someone will read it and tell me what they think. What do I do? I'm pretty sure he doesn't love me any more but I can't see what I've done. I was reading up about midlife crises and I get this because I think I went through one when my mum died but I didn't get help for it. I also thought I didn't love him any more but I fundamentally get love can change or wane but it's always there - you just need to tap it. Anyway, any advice or input? I have very few people I can talk to and no family. Also, I keep reading advice about divorce and people talk about their children and it stabs me in the heart that I never had any with him. I keep thinking if only I had, then I'd at least have a little piece of him to take with me. I don't know. I'm sorry for the length of this. I feel really helpless.
I'm not sure what you are asking for advice about. What do you want to do? In a perfect world? Do you want to persuade him to stay with you? Do you really want to stay with him? No sex for 4 years is a hell of a long time. It doesn't sound like a great relationship.
Other things that jumped out at me are:
- I'm sorry to say that my guess is that he's probably having an affair. The chances of a man being fine with no sex for 4 years and not seeking it elsewhere I would rate as very very low indeed. Plus add in weight loss (getting in shape is often sparked by a renewed interest in how you look) and now the fact he wants a divorce.
- what do you want to do in your future? You speak as if this marriage has ended your career prospects (^I should have worked, I should have had my own career,^) but you were 36 when you married. That isn't super-young, plenty of time to have established a career. What were you doing before you married?
- I have a feeling that he's going to be nasty about a settlement. He's very intelligent and high powered and the way he's spoken to me so far makes me think he just wants me gone and really won't care what happens to me
Not sure what you mean by "nasty" - I guess you mean he isn't just going to willingly hand over tons of money. But who does really when a relationship is ending and there are no children? You need to get some legal advice about this asap.
Hard as it is, don't keep pestering him for an explanation. It will only drive him away, and perhaps push him toward conclusions he isn't ready to declare.
Ask him to go with you to marital/relationship counselling. It may eventually help you save your marriage, but at the very least, can give both of you a venue for constructive dialogue. Perhaps it will give you some answers/closure (If the relationship is really over).
Sounds as if you are financially fortunate enough to not have to wait for Relate openings, but can go privately elsewhere. Set about finding someone really good/effective, and go for regular sessions.
Then find yourself something stimulating/meaningful to occupy your time and brain. Sounds as if you've been through a lot in the past few years, but also (if you'll forgive me saying), sounds as if you need to think about something other than yourself. The distraction and rewards might be surprisingly satisfying.
I'm so sorry you are going through this. It could well be depression on his part but if he won't seek help I'm not sure what you can do. For now I would speak to a solicitor to see where you stand legally. As he has told you he doesn't love you I would take him at his word, you can't forceably change his mind.
I may get flamed for this but could there be a ow on the scene. I only say this because my ex decided he no longer loved me and then the ow appeared.
He seems to be following the script of blaming you for everything but he could have talked it through with you at anytime.
I really feel for you and what a time to do this, right before Christmas.
I'm sorry I don't have great advice for you but I'm sure others will.
There is nothing that you can do to make him love you again.
I agree with the PP, I think that there is a very strong possibility that he is having an affair. Men don't usually leave an ok relationship unless they have another woman to go to. Also the no sex for four years would probably justify an affair from his POV.
Sorry x posted, see others have already replied
Sorry posted too soon.
Also his reasons are very woolly, which is suspicious, and the weight loss too.
If you want to dig around for evidence of an affair then you could try that but it might just create a lot of frustration.
I am sorry that you are going through this.
Ok, I can see how it would look that way but it was a great relationship. We weren't distant or out of each other's orbits. In fact, we were incredibly close and spent almost every day together. He has only one other friend otherwise we did everything together. I see what you're saying about sex but I'd try and resolve it and he'd just say it didn't bother him. I know. I should have worked on it but I get it's too late now.
I've asked him if there's someone else and he's adamant there isn't. He just sits in his room and smokes loads of weed and tries to be "nice" to me. I suppose it's possible though. I have seen a few instances of him seeming to flirt with women though so ok, he wants to go ahead and live a different kind of life. I'm failing to see why that means I get put in the shit though. He won't talk, won't negotiate, nothing. So why do I need to suffer and start all over with no prospect of ever having a home or future or anything? Up until the day he told me, he said we'd be staying where we are another year and then we'd get a house. Just like a total lie and self-deception or whatever it is he's doing to himself.
I also don't think a marriage or vows for it somehow mean less if I don't have children. I wanted them at the beginning and then things happened and we put it off and he, again, seemed indifferent about it. He'd want whatever I wanted. And that makes me feel awful. Like all along, he was this helpless person and now I'm responsible because somehow I'm responsible for all these mistakes. That's certainly the impression he's giving me.
As for work, I just temped long term or did office work. So no, I don't have a career or education to be able to put into work for myself. I'd like to though down the line. I'm not negative about my future - I'm just scared and worried that I'll have to suffer for something that I never saw coming and can't be given a chance to try and resolve. And yes, I do love him. I don't care about the money. I'd live in a tent on the beach if it meant not losing him. Thanks for your input.
So why do I need to suffer and start all over with no prospect of ever having a home or future or anything?
I just wanted to pick up on this. What makes you think you can't work and have your own home and future? The world would be your oyster and your future could be a hell of a lot more exciting than sitting around at home helping the housekeeper whilst your husband smokes pot all day.
There's nothing you can do OP, you can't force him to love you.
Also, it doesn't mean that there's another woman like some posters seem to insist upon suggesting in every similar thread.
Your husband has said why he wants a divorce, OP. He doesn't love you.
You and he aren't lovers. You don't make love. You are just friends. Your marriage hasn't created a family and you don't have a career, work, friends, or even, by the sound of it, interests. You sound apathetic.
your husband is smoking weed. Are you?
Have you smoked a lot of weed together and hung out together aimlessly and asexually?
Sorry, I'm not used to posting on here so I didn't tag my reply properly. My last post is to Self-loathing.
@Earlybird - I've begged him to go to counselling but he just won't. He aboslutely refuses and says he's made up his mind and that's it. I am thinking of the future and what I'll do but right now, we have to live together and I'm still in the confused/processing/coping phase I suppose. I think he's already moved on in his head and it angers and upsets me terribly that he says he knew a year ago that he didn't love me ("for sure - I knew a year ago") but he still cuddled me, treated me like I was everything, made plans, made promises, spent money he could have fairly given me in a financial settlement, etc. And he knew all along. I know I'm supposed to shrug and say oh well, what a shit but I can't do that right now. I appreciate your advice though and I agree; I definitely don't want to keep thinking about myself. I suppose at this stage, I'm going through therapy so it's unavoidable too. Thank you.
@Justwanttomoveon - I agree that if he's said it, I have to take it at his word. I do feel his personality has changed though but perhaps I'm just in denial. I thought it could be a possibility. As mentioned, he says there's no-one else but I asked him if he was looking and he said "probably". God, it's so painful. I never, ever, ever thought I would deal with this with him. We had problems but they were our problems, not only mine and I don't want to keep beating myself up about it. I just wanted other perspectives from people who'd been through this. I asked him "so that means you'll have children with someone else, right?" and he just looked at me. And I said "but you know I wanted them with you" and again he just looked at me and shrugged. As if to say, "well I never wanted them with you and now you know". It's hard to explain but that's what it seemed like. Maybe I'm projecting I don't know. I just can't believe this is the same person. Like he totally hates me. Thanks for your advice and sympathy, though, it's appreciated.
@YouAreMyRain - I don't want to try and find out. I don't want to interfere with his life. I love him. If he's met someone else, then ok, I get it. It's very painful but I understand that he didn't have a sex life and maybe he thinks he can get one with someone else. But like I say, I raised it often and we were always very tactile and affectionate with each other, he has issues in that department (nothing major and nothing I didn't think couldn't be handled with a lot of fun) but again, he didn't seem to care and like I also said, I brought a lot of issues into the relationship that I didn't realise. Like over-relying on him and deferring to him on everything. If he didn't want to have sex and said it didn't bother him, what could I have done? I know NOW that it was likely a problem but even now he dismisses it and says it wasn't the issue. "Plenty of people in their 90s have sex, so what, that's not the problem, I just don't love you". Thank you though. I guess I just have to accept it's done. I know I have to. Right now I still can't quite accept it but I have to eventually, I know. Thank you. Oh, the weight loss he is adamant is because he feels a lot of "guilt" and "grief" about not loving me any more. I haven't seen anything else change in his appearance - new clothes, etc. In fact, he's always been quite indifferent about his appearance so yeah, I don't know.
It sounds like he is having an affair. Maybe he was happy and ok with things as they were before and he carried on with the life you both had but then he met someone and felt feelings he hasn't felt for a long time.
OP read up about affairs. Read "The Script" as you will see that a lot of what you are hearing from him is classic behaviour. Its not easy for you at the moment and it will take time for you to process it all.
Also, it doesn't mean that there's another woman like some posters seem to insist upon suggesting in every similar thread.
Tyzer, do you think the claim that there's another woman is generally wrong?
@Vivacia - Yes, you're right. Anything is possible. Life is full of opportunity, I agree. I can work and plan and make a new future but it's still devastating to me because this has come out the blue. I made a lot of mistakes, I know. I wanted a future with him and I still do. He also smokes at night, during the day he had a very good job. He's sort of half left it, though, or trying to get back into it and started another business to do from home so again, I don't know if this is a stress reaction. I get I'm trying to bargain or what have you but it's my marriage, he's my husband, and I love him so yeah, I will try and do whatever I can to fix whatever's broken. I honestly think he's personality has totally changed. He's lied and been deceptive and treated me really badly in terms of what the future holds for me and yeah, I do believe he should be thinking about those things. This was our marriage - not only mine. He owns half the marriage. That's the way I look at it.
@Tyzer85 - I agree. I'm just going on exactly what he says but like I say, there's a history of depressive disorders in his family and an outsider could say there could be something else going on. I'm not saying he couldn't stop loving me; just that I think it's important to look at every angle and possibility.
@emeline - Thanks. I might seem that way but I'm not. I wanted to do a degree next year and deferred it this year because I wanted to help him with his business. And yes, I should have had other friends and interests but I wanted to be with him and he wanted to be with me. And no, we weren't lovers but I know my relationship and would never describe it as a "friendship". It's a mistake now in retrospect but we were so close and so comfortable and intimate that it didn't really bother either of us there wasn't any sex. And yes, I see now we were fooling ourselves. I want to fix it and he doesn't want to. And no, I don't smoke weed. I'll have an occasional hit but only because he'd skin up and I'd want to hang out with him because he's lovely and makes me laugh and yeah, I love him.
I appreciate how horribly distressing and confusing this is, but I'm worried that you're inadvertently playing the Pick Me dance. Hurtful and frustrating though it is there is nothing you can do to change his feelings. If he's confused and still loves you really, he'll only continue loving you if you don't humiliate yourself in the meantime.
He's lied and been deceptive and treated me really badly this doesn't make him sound like a catch though. What's he deceived you about?
@Enlli - Possibly. Everything is so catastrophic right now that I'd rather have that than lose him. Or better, you know, try and work on it. He says he's still attracted to me (or did a few weeks ago) and he'd say that all the time. He just didn't really seem to care about sex but I think now looking back that he was just playing out the role of someone who shouldn't care but actually did. But I'm his wife. He could have talked to me any time. When he said he was unhappy, he could have told me and I would do anything. I'm doing anything now. I'm not looking for excuses - I have behavioural problems that make me seem moody and snappy but I hate them. I just thought it was my make-up and I was supposed to be this way but I've really changed a lot the past few weeks. Sometimes all it takes is to realise something about your past. I'm doing everything I can. He doesn't care though. It's too late. I want to understand because at heart I'm selfish and if I don't get why, if I'm not careful, I'll just keep regretting, and regretting, and feeling awful. And yes, I know. I should snap out of thinking that way but it's hard.
Emili is the script a book? D'you know the author? Looking on Amazon, not found it so far..
abi I do understand you love him and you are shocked now you have realised that he doesn't love you. The fact that he stopped loving you a while ago, but carried on as if he did, just means that he was in denial about it, to himself as well as to you. He has had time to acclimatise to the fact that he doesn't love you and has now accepted the fact that his marriage is over. Sounds like he had to give himself time to accept it, before he could face telling you.
I guess he's using the weed to numb out.
I get it, I really do, my ex and I were together 20 years and I really thought it was forever. He followed 'the script' though and blamed me for everything and I believed him, I fought for our relationship and tried to change everything he said was wrong but it made no difference he had already left me (in his head). He too had family history of mh issues and I thought he was ill/depressed. But in truth he was shagging a girl 20 years younger than him but it made him feel better to make it my fault.
I really hope there is no ow but I would check (bank statements/credit card bills etc). In the meantime you are allowed to be upset, eventually that may turn to anger. I hope there is at least one person you can talk to in rl. If you can try and see a councillor, they may help you find perspective and not internalise it all and blame yourself.
Keep posting here as you will get support from others who have been through the same thing.
@Quitethewoodsman - Thank you.
@Vivacia - It's just so unlike him. I know I love him for sure. I keep beating myself up with all sorts of negativity like maybe I made a mistake, maybe he's been this deceptive person all along, maybe this, maybe that. Maybe it's denial but it's really painful to think about and it doesn't help me because it's too black and white and not looking at things objectively. I know I picked the right person in him. Obviously I'm idealising him and he has his faults but he is, objectively, very kind, highly intelligent, an enormous amount of fun to be around, good looking, attractive, sweet, would do anything for me, the list goes on and on. I'm so sorry I never had a child with him. I'll never have sex with him again, never be able to tell him my big views about this or that, ask him about clever shit he knows about, nothing. It's all over. It just seems unreal. Like I don't know him at all. If you saw how he talked to me through all this, you'd get it. I think anyone rational would. It's like he hates me and I don't know why. The deceptive part is that he is adamant he knew a year ago he didn't love me and never tried to resolve it but basically allowed himself to process it all whilst continuing to make promises, plans for the future, kissing me, cuddling, etc.
I think you are over-analysing this OP. Why should he go to counselling? I really cant see the relevance. He doesnt love you. He has very probably met somebody else; or he has his eye on somebody else. Either way, it's over and you should accept that; he is allowed to fall out of love for whatever reason. You need to get on with your life, get a career or whatever; and let him get on with his.
Para 4 leapt out at me.
Men, too, have a menopause and the feeling that life is slipping away from them. The' Roaring Forties'? A rel of mine was, in his time, quite famous(infamous?) for jacking in his seemingly 'perfect' life and just taking off.
Physical distance, mental distance, same difference..
It could well be, then, that he's not 'left' you for ANother, just that he's left the building for no reason even he can properly articulate,
? Making sense to anyone here?
Whatever the ins and outs or who is to blame, he is your husband and you are entitled to a proper explanation as to why he wants to end the marriage.
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